Family raises, drives Haflingers

North Fork Journal (Broadway, VA)-November 18, 2009
Author: Lauren Jefferson

2009 National Drive

2009 National Drive

MAYLAND – People travelling regularly along Va. Rt. 257 / Mayland Road sometimes have to slow down for a wagon pulled by two palomino horses.

That’s Tim Bryan, Mr. Mac and Charlie on their way from their Mayland home to the less-travelled Bulldog Hollow Road for a training pull.

Tim, his wife, Debbie, and their two daughters, Rachel and Allison, have also driven the horses in the Broadway Homecoming parade, in pleasure driving competitions, and in a trail drive at Gettysburg National Park.

Even with a vehicle escort driving with flashing headlights behind the wagon, Tim says some drivers don’t slow down.

“Ninety percent of the people are just fine, but 10 percent don’t care or aren’t paying attention,” he said. “And sometimes they honk. You gotta wonder what those people are thinking.”

The Bryans started raising Haflingers seven years ago. The rare draft horses, characterized by their chestnut coats and flaxen manes and tails, were bred in Austria as a hardy multi-use animal.

Their interest in horses has family roots: Bud Eye, Debbie’s father, raised walking horses and competed in local shows, while John Bryan, Tim’s father, farmed with draft horses in southwest Virginia.

The Bryans’ barn is filled with several different wagons, including a sleigh-all used for different pulling purposes.

Recently, Bryan added a marathon wagon so that he could compete in combined driving, a three-part competition similar to three-day eventing that tests the team’s skills, fitness and versatility.

The phases include a memorized routine of specific gaits, the cones competition, which tests the team’s accuracy through a prescribed course of cones; and the cross country marathon phase.


Copyright (c) 2009, Byrd Newspapers, All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.